The March of the Saints
“By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it,25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations (Revelation 21:24-26).”
While there is much to be said for quiet reflection and worship of our God in solitude, every believer knows and treasures the joy of worshiping with a throng of other believers. There is something wondrous about many voices lifting up praise to our God.
The text of Revelation 21:24-26 describes a great gathering of the nations. John gave a preview of this great gathering for worship in chapter 7. “9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…10 and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”’
In Roman victory parades the spoils of the defeated people would be marched through the city for all to see. Conquered kings would walk in chains, now slaves of the state. Yet here the spoils are replaced with worshipers. Those who have come through the gates of our eternal city bring glory to God in worship, for they have been won by grace. They will not live imprisoned as slaves; rather, they will have opportunity to fulfill their heart’s desire in fervent worship to the one who has loved them like none other.
So, when the nations walk in, they will walk in as part of that number mentioned in the black spiritual: “Oh when the saints go marching in; Oh when the saints go marching in, Oh Lord I want to be in that number; when the saints go marching in.” If we are part of that number, then we can look forward to worshiping together like we’ve never worshiped before.